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Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
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Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  8,673 ratings  ·  1,441 reviews
With perfect pacing, the multi-award-winning, New York Times best-selling team of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen dig down for a deadpan tale full of visual humor.

Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive read
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Candlewick Press
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Shelley That's interesting. I can see how you might think it could be about dying and passing into another world, I never thought about that. I do like that t…moreThat's interesting. I can see how you might think it could be about dying and passing into another world, I never thought about that. I do like that theme too though. I saw it as a book about parallel worlds. (less)

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Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,673 ratings  ·  1,441 reviews

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Nov 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kiddiwinx
depending on your own psychological makeup, this is either a cute and funny children's book, or the most insidious and emotionally scarring book intended for children since The Velveteen Rabbit.

since i dig emotional scars like sam and dave dig that hole, i'm gonna go with the darker interpretation here. and i feel like this interpretation is earned, since the entire book causes increasing agitation and frustration in the reader, who can't quite squash that impulse to yell at the characters, "IT
Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
It’s a great book. It has some excellent broad humor, as well as one heck of a challenging ending that will make readers think. Really, one of the best open-ended picture book conclusions in recent memory.

I will now present six theories on what exactly happens at the end of Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, from least likely to most likely.

Theory #1: The Dog is Jesus Theory
In this theory, the dog that accompanies Sam and Dave is Jesus, trying to lead the boys in the right direction (notice that the dog
I tell you what, Sam & Dave really know how to dig. Their parents must be miners or something. They dig these elaborate tunnels looking for something interesting. The cute thing about this beginning story, is that we are able to see in the dirt around them and we see all the diamonds they are missing by inches. They have the worst instincts for digging as every time they are getting close to a diamond, they decide to change directions.

The kids were going nuts. It’s right there, they need to kee
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole. The uninspired, to-the-point title is the only thing uninspired about this very charming children's book. The humor here is mainly in the visuals, but this is not to say the story itself is lacking; though it's simple, it's highly memorable and just hilarious, and with only a few sentences per page, this is an ideal bedtime read. There's no moral to the story, but so what? Sometimes it's ok to just have a laugh.

Final verdict: A must-read-now probably most suitable for ag
Rachel Reads Ravenously
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Such a cute book! The title says it all. Jon Klassen is one of my favorite children's books illustrators today, and he does not disappoint. If you have kiddos I highly recommend reading this to them :) ...more
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Oh, I like it!


Sam and Dave set off with their dog in search of something ... SPECTACULAR .... and they seem to think they'll find it by digging a hole in their backyard. Well it's as good a place as any to start.

It was an interesting book.
At the surface it is a story of two boys playing in their backyard searching for a "treasure" AND exasperatedly missing it over and over .... and coming home empty handed and hungry. I was groaning page after page (watching the illustrations) thinking, "Just w
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books

Sam and Dave dig a hole. They dig, dig, and dig down, under, and side to side in search of something spectacular. Do they find what they’re looking for?

Barnett and Klassen make a spectacular duo! Mr. Barnett’s quiet, witty way with words and Klassen’s sly sense of humor and masterful use of space on the page make a fun, quirky, smart read. Kids will be pointing and shouting at the page—“It’s right there!” Haha….My favorite part was the look on the dog’s face. It’s amazing what Klassen can expres
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
"When should we stop digging?" asked Sam.
"We are on a mission," said Dave. "We won't stop digging until we find something spectacular."

Dave and Sam go out to dig a hole. They dig and dig. To the child's (reader's) frustration, Sam and Dave always just miss the giant peach-colored diamonds hidden under the earth. They are accompanied by a wise little dog who always looks like he knows what's up.

The ending is wildly implausible.

Highly recommended to children who dream of digging to China and spend
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-inner-child, 2018
This is a Black Mirror episode for kids, and I love it.
Sam & Dave completely had me until the very end. I love that the boys (plus dog) decide to dig until they find something spectacular. They keep stopping short and changing directions just as they are (unknowingly) about to uncover enormous, cool gems. So great for a discussion with kids about perseverance, and visually it's so fun. But then, the end didn't work for me. Ah well, maybe I gave up on it too soon. ...more
Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
Check out more picture book reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

Sam and Dave are on a mission with their dog to find something SPECTACULAR! And their solution is... digging a hole... a really wild and crazy hole that needs snacks and naps. But they neglect to look where their dog indicates!

This is a crazy book that even elicited a giggle from my nephew! High praise as it means he understood what was going on and that the boys were supposed to find the pink diamonds littering the pages. He even n
Benji Martin
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I need to discuss this book with someone. Anyone.
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Barnett and Klassen are an amazing picture book duo who have created with this book an instant classic. Sam and Dave are two friends who set out to dig a hole on Monday. They decide that they won’t stop digging until they find “something spectacular.” They keep digging, deeper and deeper, missing jewels by just a few inches. They stop and have chocolate milk and animal cookies and then continue to dig. Maybe another direction will help them find treasure? But readers will see as they take the tu ...more
May 01, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I’ve changed this from 4 to 5 stars because my 4-year-old nephew completely got the subtlety of it, which I was afraid he’d miss. A fun and satisfying read for us.
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kidstuff
And, the moral is . . . when it comes to major excavating projects, always follow your dog's lead.

Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Determined to find something spectacular, Sam and Dave dig a hole outside their grandfather's house, working until they are in over their heads. Just as they are about to unearth an enormous gem, they become discouraged and begin digging in a different direction. After successive almost-discoveries of a similar nature, they find themselves falling into something very spectacular indeed...

Awarded a Caldecott Honor in 2015, Sam & Dave Dig a Hole is a picture-book with immense aesthetic and storyte
Amy Rae
Nov 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After Extra Yarn, I was basically ready to follow Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen anywhere they wanted to lead me...and it turns out that was down a hole. This book is hilarious and also a little bit eerie--I love that they apparently (view spoiler). A funny little adventure with a satisfying twist. ...more
Sarah Rosenberger
Loved Klassen's art as always, and the story started off as something I got (and thought kids would get) a real kick out of, but the (sorry for the profanity, but I am first and foremost a Teen Services Person and we are allowed to say words like) stupid ending did not work for me AT ALL. Definitely will not be using this in storytime or anything. ...more
I do not have a clever theory about what is going on here. But it's cool, whatever it is. Two boys decide to dig a hole. They dig a really big hole. Things get weird. No matter what age you are, no matter whether you don't normally read picture books, you must read this. Natasha and I both agree. Now.

You're welcome.

Library copy.
Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books, own
The Barnett/Klassen partnership really must continue. This book is so darling, I can't stand it. The simple, almost washed-out pictures, the simple words... just perfect! ...more
Mar 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture
The dog is my favorite character.
My favorite scene is where the dog (view spoiler).
As Maxwell Smart would say, "Missed it by that much," So close and yet so, so far away. Sam and Dave should pay a little more attention to their dog.

I'm truly not sure what the point of this book unless it's just teasing the reader. What amazing finds Sam and Dave almost uncovered. I remember feeling this way as a kid, though. If I just kept digging a little bit more, who knows what I could have found?

But check out that last scene--readers might assume the boys made it back home, but when you l
Dave Schaafsma
Nov 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I like this deadpan team, I like the simple,understated, funny story, and I like Jon Klaasen's art. It's not as edgy as other Klaasen stuff, but it is still really good and fun and the little things involving the dog, and cat, are the really great things to look for in it. GR nominated for best of year, 2014. Deserving. ...more
Lisa Suchy
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"Sam and Dave Dig a Hole" is about 2 boys who dig a hole. They are on a mission to dig "until we find something spectacular." The boys, with their dog along side with them, keep digging. The boys take a break from digging and drink chocolate milk and eat animal crackers. They decided digging straight down isn't working, so they change directions and dig to the left and dig to the right. The dig so much that they begin to feel tired and cannot dig anymore so they take a rest and end up falling as ...more
Rod Brown
Jun 21, 2020 rated it liked it
I was amused as Sam and Dave took some unfortunate turns in their digging adventure, but was a bit befuddled by the enigmatic ending until all the details and ramifications were pointed out to me by my wife and daughter. Pretty subtle and terrifying for a picture book.

I'm claiming I didn't catch on right away because I was distracted throughout the whole book that the creators did nothing to deal with the issue of dirt disposal and tunnel navigation. Where are the buckets, ropes and ladders nece
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
*spoiler alert* What the heck? If you show me a gigantic diamond in the ground right where two boys are digging a hole in search of something "spectacular", call me shallow but I want the boys to find the darn diamond! Yes, I appreciate the dramatic irony or instead winding up back where they started (although I'm still not sure how that happened logistically). But well, if choosing between dramatic irony and diamonds, I will pick the diamond. Frankly I think the kids will be even more nonplusse ...more
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-book
I have read this book at least 15 times since I got it last week. Definitely my favorite picture book so far this year, even though I still have no idea what to make of it. Where did Sam and Dave end up? What's up with the dog, and the bone? Why is everything the same, but different? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?? ...more
Clare Cannon
A picture book that will probably appeal to boys thanks to its 'characters oblivious to the real situation' humour and the little dog who knows as much as the reader but whom the characters likewise ignore.

The surprise is sufficiently left-field to baffle adults and amaze children—at least those who don't mind their stories left a little unresolved.
Skye: "I like the surprise ending. Even I couldn't predict it!" Felix: "I like it 'cause it's kinda like Minecraft."

Felix: "Why are you giving it four stars instead of five?"
Me: "It has to be pretty spectacular to get five stars."
Felix: "It is spectacular in a special way! The only thing that frustrated me was... *spoiler ahead*

"...they didn't get any gems!"
Avital Nathan
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very clever book that depends on the reader interpreting the illustrations and text with equal weight. It could be used as an example of how important it is to infer from a text, ‘read between the lines’ and make predictions as you read.
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Henrico Youth Boo...: Sam and Dave Dig a Hole 1 5 Nov 03, 2014 04:57AM  

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Born to non-farmers in a California farming community, Mac Barnett now lives near San Francisco. He's on the board of directors of 826LA, a nonprofit writing center for students in Los Angeles, and he founded the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, a convenience store for time travelers. ...more

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